Top Ten Math Tips!

Hey y'all!  This post goes along with a video I posted on facebook that you can see HERE!  I have gathered some of my favorite math ideas, tips, and tricks to share with you!

1.  We are Mathematicians!  This is my favorite back to school math activity!  As a class, we discuss what the word Mathematicians means.  We create an anchor chart to discuss what mathematicians do, need, etc.  Then, students create themselves as mathematicians and write in a speech bubble how they will be mathematicians this year!  It's from my Let's Get Started pack, BUT you can also find it separate HERE!
2.  Math Desk Toppers:  Several years ago I decided that I didn't need my students to have their names on their desks.  We switch desks often so I didn't want to have to switch the tags or move the desks around.  BUT, I still wanted a math reference tool for them to use on their desk.  That's when I came up with the Math Desk Topper!  It has visuals that students can use throughout the year!  You can find my 2nd grade one HERE!
Here's how they look on the desks:
My friend wanted some for third grade, so I made her a set too!  You can see those HERE!
3.  Math Vocabulary!  It's important for students to see those terms that we are constantly emphasizing.  Creating a space for math vocabulary and terms is a great idea!  These cards are from our Magic of Math units, but you can also find them HERE!  If you'd like the Math Vocabulary bulletin board letters for FREE, join our Engagement Made Easy group and you can grab that download!
 4.  I also talked about early finisher activities to use during the math block.  You can find the FREE activities that I talked about in the video HERE!
Here's another look at those early finisher activities :)  Students practice their fact fluency in a fun way!
 5.  Assessing fact fluency can be challenging, but Hope and I have tried to take all of the thinking out of it for you!  You can find a post about it HERE.  Click HERE for Addition and Subtraction.  Click HERE for Multiplication and Division.  Click HERE for all four!
6.  Math Reflections- a powerful way to assess students quickly is by having them write about what you did in math for the day.  They can explain a skill, write about a vocabulary term, or explain the steps to solving a problem.  It's ZERO prep, it integrates writing, and you can see in an instant if they understand!
7.  Math Storage:  Several years ago I decided to take all of my math materials out of the filing cabinet and organize it by math tubs.  It saved my sanity!  All of the books, cards, games, and centers were all in one easy to find place!  You can read all about my math storage HERE!
8.  Math Tools- we LOVE using lots of different manipulatives in the classroom, but here are some of my favorites:
 9.  Math Stations:  I've talked A LOT about math stations on my blog.  You can see a post for how I used this cart and chart HERE.  HERE are my favorite apps!

10.  Math Displays:  I talked about some of these in my other video, but I wanted to share a few more with you!  I keep a number line, number words, hundreds chart, word problem tips, and shape posters up all year along with a math bulletin board and math vocabulary wall!
Click below to find each of the items:

I hope you found some useful math tips and tricks in this blog post and by watching the video!  Have fun with your little mathematicians this year!

Bulletin Boards

I love a good bulletin board, don't you?!  But, I don't want it to take me just a ton of time to put together.  Give me some good paper, borders and big letters and I'm good to go!  Here are some of the boards that I put together this year :)

This bulletin board is at the very front of the school (the school's name is Rhea which you'll see a lot throughout on the boards!)  For all of the boards I used fadeless paper from Mardel and Hobby Lobby.

I picked up some paper fans and a pom garland from Target for a little extra pizazz! 
Fonts:  AGOnFleek, BabblingTpTOrlando, AGSorryNotSorry

I cut out all of my letters by hand.  It is annoying and hurts my hand, but I just haven't bit the bullet on buying a cutting machine just yet!
 The school's theme is "Follow Your Arrow" so this phrase was perfect for one of the VERY large boards in front of the cafeteria!  I found vinyl arrow decals on Amazon to add to several of the boards :)
Fonts:  AGOnFleek, BabblingTpTOrlando, AGFrinally

 Honeycombs made the perfect addition to the corners!
 I really love this tassel banner I found at Target.  These boards are about 14 feet long so I needed all the help I could get taking up the space!
Fonts:  AGOnFleek, AGIsMakeupRequired

 Our counselor wanted to use this saying for the character board.  I kept it simple with letters and vinyl arrows!
Fonts:  BabblingUnicorn, AGFrinally, AGStruggleBus
This board is in the cafeteria.  School news and flyers will be displayed here so that parents can stay up-to-date when they visit their students for lunch!
AGOnFleek, AGStruggleBus

I listed all of the fonts underneath the pictures, but here are links to Amy and Abby's font packs:

Last year I put together a video tutorial to show you how I make the letters for my boards.  You can watch that below!  It's super simple and doesn't consume very much time :)  All of the letters on all of the bulletin boards from this year and last year all fit on a regular sized sheet of paper.  I did not enlarge or blow any of the letters up... so they are easy to print and cut!
You can check out the boards I did last year HERE!

Back to School Top Ten!

Hey, friends!  Tonight I posted a video about this exact blog post to my facebook page.  I'd love for you to check it out!  You can click {HERE} to see it.  Also, there is a freebie within the video, so you'll definitely want to grab that!

I have gathered my TOP TEN tips and tricks for Back to School.  Some of them revolve around classroom set up.  Others have to do with student activities.  And a couple are just random!  Let's get started!

1.  Create a meeting area in your classroom where students can sit at your fit to read a book, take part in a minilesson, and make classroom charts together :)  Side note- I also put read alouds that relate to our theme of the week on the board.  The students can use these all throughout the week!
 After visiting the Ron Clark Academy, I knew I had to incorporate students pictures into my classroom.  I'm so glad I did because they students just about exploded with pride when they saw themselves in my classroom!
 3.  Create book buckets that you can leave at the table groups during the first week of school.  Gather 20-30 books per bucket.  Place the book bucket in the center of the table group.  Students can grab those books to read when they are finished with their work.  They don't have to get up and walk around the room.  They don't have to ask what to do next.  They get to read all those great books you've had stashed in your teacher cabinet!
 4.  I've blogged a lot about my student generated alphabet.  You can read more about that HERE.  To find out how to make your own student locker tags click HERE!
 5.  Think LOW (when you can!)... move some of classroom decorations or resources down low so that your students can utilize them more effectively!  You can find the number line shown HERE.  My number word pennants are HERE.
 6.  Bring in a classroom pet!  Okay, not a real one... of if you want a real one, go for it!  Mine are stuffed snakes :)  The students get together to name them on the first day of school.  The snakes visit students working well throughout the day and leave little notes around the room occasionally!
 7.  Create a classroom promise with your kids.  This gives your students "buy in" to the classroom expectations because they are helping to form those with you!  You can find mine HERE.  The pre-printed pledge is in our Rooted in Reading August unit.
 8.  Get to Know You Games!  Games are a great way to break the ice and get your students comfortable in the classroom.  You can find the Get to Know You Cootie Catchers, Battleship, and Uno games HERE.  The Lego Challenges and Partner Bookworm are from HERE!  Also, if you watch the video I'm sharing a FREE get to know you game!  Check that out HERE!
 9.  Find a GREAT book to share!  I love You're Finally Here by Melanie Watt.  It's difficult to find for purchase, but you can find it on Amazon Canada HERE.  Grab my directed drawing for free HERE.  Check out Linda Kamp's fabulous unit to accompany it HERE!
 There are also a gajillion other Back To School books.  I've linked all of the titles below the pictures



10.  Incorporate Character Lessons with the books above!  You can find these character lessons and bracelets HERE!

Let's Draw a Fox! FREEBIE!

I don't think it's any surprise that I love directed drawings.  I've been talking about this for a couple of years now on this blog of mine.  We even incorporate them into our Rooted in Reading units.

I had a lot of drawing ideas over the summer.  I'm a doodler BIG TIME.  So, I thought... why not compile some of my favorite doodles?!  I put together two drawings per month, 24 total.
For each drawing there are a few different writing pages that go along with the art piece.  Sometimes I do directed drawings to accompany a character study.  Other times I do them for a holiday.  Sometimes we do them just to do them!  They are a quick, easy activity that you can pull out when you have a few extra minutes!
Often times I use directed drawings as early finishers.  I just keep a file of directions and students can choose which one they want to draw.
Other times I will put them in a writing or art center.  It is minimal prep for me, but the students LOVE it! 
 And sometimes we draw just to draw!  It offers a nice release for the students... plus it is normally peaceful which is an added bonus!
 I've been obsessed with panda bears after watching Born In China!  I could seriously watch panda babies on TV all day long, ha!
 One more idea before I go!  Do you send home a compilation of work from throughout the year before school gets out?  It can be a lot of work to keep things, store them, and then organize it for all of your students.  With the drawings, you can use plastic sleeves or a folder.  Just keep them all together throughout the year and it will be such a nice gift to send home to the parents.  They will have a collection of their child's art and writings from a whole year!
 For this portfolio, I just put ten page protectors together with ribbon.  I can add the drawings to it as we go!
If you are wanting to know more about the format and how the unit is put together, you are in luck!  I've created a Fox Freebie just for you!  You can click on the picture below to download your fox directed drawing and writing!
 You'll find that my unit is set up exactly the same way as the freebie :)
Oh, and if you need a reason to incorporate drawing into your day, I've got a wonderful quote for you!

Math Notebooks

A couple of weeks ago I shared how I was organizing my third grade math curriculum.  You can find that post HERE.  Today  I wanted to show you how I did the same thing for 2nd Grade Magic of Math!  I'm also going to answer a few questions that I have gotten since doing my third grade math post!

The units can be organized by week or by month.  It just depends on what size of binders you have!  I had small binders so I chose to organize by weeks, but it will definitely take a lot of binders to do it this way!  We've provided covers, spines, and tabs to organize either way- by unit or week! 
Is it necessary to make notebooks for everything?  Absolutely not!  You can also just keep everything digitally so that you don't have to waste paper printing all of the pages.  Just print what you need for your lessons and you will be good to go :)
But, since I decided to organize by week, I used the daily tabs that we made.
To apply the tabs, you just fold and tape over the page protectors.  I just put a piece of tape on both sides so that it was nice and secure!  Also, I love having the daily visuals right inside of the notebook.  If I misplace anything, or take something out to copy, I can easily see where it belongs.  This also helps me see exactly how the activities should be done!
I didn't use a page protector for every single page.  I grouped things inside of a plastic sleeve.  So, all of my minilesson printables are all in one sleeve.  I did the same thing for the activity pages and interactive notebook components!  Sidenote- one of the things I love about Magic of Math is we try to give you multiple strategies and the materials you need to complete everything for the word problem, minilesson, activity, and independent work!  For regrouping, we provided several different addition mats so that teachers can choose which works best for their students.
To store the cards that I have already prepped for the unit, I just hole punched an envelope.  This ensures everything is secure and won't fall out when I move my notebook around.

If I didn't want to waste an envelope, I just slid the cards inside of the sleeve.  Here you can see how I stored the examples I have made and the blackline masters for the same activity.  I can quickly see what the finished product should look like :)
For my interactive notebook entries I put the printable in the front of the sleeve and the example in the back of the sleeve.  
Here's another example of how you can store cards with an activity.
You can grab all of the notebook covers, binder spines, and tabs in a FREE download HERE.  We've included a lot of variety so that you can organize how you see fit!

In the spring we completed our 2nd grade Magic of Math units.  We now have an entire year of materials in one bundle.  The great thing about Magic of Math is that you don't need to purchase anything to go along with it.  You will have math vocabulary, I Can Statements, word problems, minilessons, activities/games, interactive notebook entries, assessments, and more!  We are talking over 800 different math things!!  AND it is aligned with Common Core and the TEKS!  You can check out the bundle by clicking HERE or on the picture.